Illustration By Denise Freitas
“This is how we always used to make wines in Argentina…Torrontés was an orange wine before it was a white wine,” explains Matías Michelini as he plunges his bare hands and tattooed forearms into a bin filled with Torrontés grapes. Foam appears around the grape skins while a posse of family members (Matías is one of four brothers, each of whom have four children) and friends mill around him. Wicker baskets filled with recently picked grapes are animatedly being poured into large vats as the teenagers foot stomp them to the sound of bachata music.
“These are family wines and handmade wines—it’s nothing new really,” says Michelini. It might be nothing new, but there’s undoubtedly a new movement underfoot in South America as winemakers bring old winemaking techniques and grape varieties back to the fore. And with them, they are bringing a wave of vibrant and juicy wines.
Not only are these traditional winemaking techniques and varieties coming back into fashion in South America, but they are also responsible for making some of the continent’s most exciting wines today.